Today marks the launch of our 2021 Scottish Parliament Election Manifesto.
We are calling on all parties and candidates to recognise the significant challenge Scotland's high prevalence of overweight and obesity poses for public health and health inequalities, highlighting the urgent need to progress actions to improve the food environment in Scotland.
Inequalities in overweight and obesity continue to worsen, with the gap in prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity now at 12% between children living in the most and least deprived areas of Scotland. We are not getting it right for every child.
Obesity is a complex condition, influenced by many factors, and to tackle it action is required across several domains. Food and drink high in fat, sugar and salt continues to be widely available and heavily promoted, contributing to Scotland missing its Dietary Goals for almost two decades.
We must take urgent, preventative action to achieve healthy weight in the Scottish population by improving the food environment, ensuring that the healthy choice is the easy choice for everyone. Doing so will help to improve national diet and health, reducing the burden of many non-communicable diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and several types of cancer.
We are, therefore, calling on the next Scottish Parliament and Government to take the following actions:
Promotions: The Scottish Parliament and Government should seek to pass a Bill to restrict the use of promotions on food and drink high in fat, sugar and/or salt urgently in the next session.
Advertising: The Scottish Parliament and Government should restrict the advertising of food and drink high in fat, sugar and/or salt in Scotland where they can. This should include outdoor advertising such as billboards, public transport, digital media advertising, and sponsorship of professional sports and events.
Out of Home: The Scottish Government should ensure that the adaptation and recovery of the food and catering out-of-home sector from the Covid-19 pandemic happens in a way that supports and enables improved healthier food options and a shift to healthier, more sustainable foods.
The Scottish Parliament and Government should improve planning and registration arrangements for the out-of-home sector, to limit access to unhealthy foods.
Finally, the Scottish Parliament and Government should introduce mandatory calorie labelling and control of portion size.
Read the full Obesity Action Scotland manifesto for the 2021 Scottish Parliament Election, here.